Migration update: features gained

Hi TuDiabetes friends,

This update is about some of the awesome features and capabilities we’re going to gain through the migration! It’s not an exhaustive list at all, but these are a few of the things we think you will be particularly excited about...




First off I have two words for you: search function. Sure, our current site has a search function. Have you used it recently? If you have, the chances are good that you did not find what you were looking for. Today I searched for “diet” (on this site, which is all about diabetes), and here’s what I got ----------------------------------➠

Is this what I was looking for? No.






By contrast, I also searched for “diet” on a community that’s built on Discourse but does not have anything to do with food or health, specifically, and got this ---------➠

More useful? Yes.


Our new site will have a state-of-the-art search function, which not only looks for the keyword itself, but also uses context to deliver timely and relevant search results.

Mobile integration. Ever want to access TuDiabetes on the go? In its current form, it’s really confusing to view on a smartphone or iPad. Compare this image of our current appearance on an iPhone with the appearance of Talk Folksy, a community that’s built on the platform we’re moving to:




















Unless you’re looking specifically for a discussion about the High Carb Era, the TuDiabetes view offers nothing, and no intuitive way to search for other content. Talk Folksy, on the other hand, tells us right up front what the community is about, how to find the latest posts, and how to find a list of categories.

Updated forum features to make discussion easier! Discourse includes more discussion features than I can even list here, so I’ll just list a few of the features I think will most enhance your experience in the forum.

  • If you begin a post with a title similar to a post that already exists, you get a popup asking if you would like to add to that conversation, rather than start a new one on the same topic!

  • Summarize button: long discussions generate a summary button that you can hit to get a summary of the main points made in the discussion.
  • Automatic loading of new comments: as members participate in conversations, each comment automatically loads in an endless stream. No more refreshing the page or clicking to the next page to read new additions and the discussion!

  • Pointers, notes and tools to help members start engaging and interesting conversations, including easy photo and video uploading within posts, reminders to engage respectfully, and a preview window so you can see exactly how your post will look as you’re creating it. This popup box is an example:

  • When you mention another member in a discussion using @username that person will receive a notification with a link to that discussion. This way you can easily invite your friends to join in conversations you think they’ll be interested in.

We’re joining the 21st century! We’ll be able to grow, change, and add to the community’s capabilities in any way that we want! The platform that TuDiabetes was originally built on, 7 years ago, has basically a box set of features and capabilities. It’s been great for us! But those features and capabilities have not kept pace with the evolution of online social networks. Our new platform will be what’s called “open source”, which means that we can change and add to it as time passes and our wants and needs evolve.


What will NOT change in the platform migration is the community itself. We are still the same wonderful people, here to help and support one another, to make friends with similar experiences, to ask and answer questions and to participate in a space made for and by people touched by diabetes. Our new site will not change who we are, but will make it easier to do what we do.

Thanks for the progress report! I sort of work around the non-searching, sometimes I'll use other ways to find threads, looking for my own posts on my page, etc. but I agree it's *very* challenging to do much of anything on my phone. I'm looking forward to playing with the new interface! . Thanks to you and everybody else involved in working through the details and planning a big move like this!!! I also appreciate your efforts to keep the community informed!!

Sounds good Emily, I'm sure we will all adjust in time and the new features and navigations etc. are going to be good. You are all doing a great job with all of this hard work!

Looking forward to getting to experience the new site layout. It seems from the features you listed that it has a lot to offer in terms of both utility and ease of the new interface.

Curious, is there a sample site we can go to (maybe not TuDiabetes but something else run on that platform)? The changes sound great, but I'm always nervous about screen reader accessibility when things like "no need to refresh!" and "21st centruy technologies!" are mentioned.

Jen, you can join me and Manny on

http://bbs.boingboing.net/

(warning: it's not exactly PG13 for language)

another one I've joined is

http://talk.folksy.com/

both places I've joined as @MarieBe

the search is simply WONDERFUL. If you'd like to try the Discourse "sandbox" for the day, go here
http://try.discourse.org/

I'm so glad folks are liking the look of things, so far! I really do believe that this change is going to do our community a world of good.

I'm in the process of creating an FAQ document for this whole process, so please feel free to post any questions you have in this thread (or any of the threads I've created about the platform migration). Your questions will be added to the FAQ and once it's a little more complete I'll share it with the community.

Sounds and looks lke a great direction to go. Can't wait!

One question. For those of us with vision issues, will we be able to make any modifications in how things appear on our screen? Things like font weight and size or contrast. I know about ctl + and -, but that is not often the best solution. Any new tools?

"Automatic loading of new comments: as members participate in conversations, each comment automatically loads in an endless stream. No more refreshing the page or clicking to the next page to read new additions and the discussion!"

This feature alone would be worth it to me. I really have not liked (avoiding 'hate') the need to click through 12 pages of an interesting forum.

The features you list, for the most part, are far better than I had expected! Being honest.

Many sites have the option of clicking on + - symbols at top of page. I wonder if this would help? These have been available for many, many years. Others use words: smaller / larger font sizes at top of page.


I use Verdana font for all my papers and PowerPoint presentations because to me it is the cleanest font. I hate Ariel!

Holy moly, am I glad we are doing this change!!
the up and down of this weekend has almost driven me crazy, i am so glad we are running again and am looking forward so much to a smoothly running platform!!!

AMEN Swiss.

Sarah

This is a test comment for my glitchey old computer. I tried several times to post it last night and it wouldn't post. So I went over to FB and posted it on Emily's page where it worked.

When will we actually do the migration?

Hooray!!! It worked. David is going to be trying to refresh this computer because it's a really awkward time for us to get me a new one. And I really, really want it running smoothly when we migrate! Hence a desire to know how long we have!.....Blessings all.....Judith in Portland

I'm so glad you are pleasantly surprised, Nell!

Judith, at least some of the trouble you've experienced recently in trying to post comments might be our site, and not your computer. Over the weekend we had a site meltdown and NO one could post a comment (including me).

We're slated to actually jump onto the new site at the beginning of April. Avoiding April 1st, for silly but obvious reasons :)

Randy and Jen, you both bring up a really good question, and I confess that I don't know the answer. I'll look into features for folks with seeing impairment and get back to you. Thanks for asking!

Thanks, Emily---and oh my yes---let's not tempt the universe to mess with us. My sister would also recommend that we be sure Mercury is NOT retrograde!....

This looks great Emily ! :) Will you be doing a live chat on the changeover ,if you have time ? I think I am going to use the new search features a lot :) Thanks to you and all for all your hard work .

We're slated to actually jump onto the new site at the beginning of April. Avoiding April 1st, for silly but obvious reasons :)


When dealing with people it never hurts to take into consideration things which may affect people's perspective. ;-)

Is there any chance of spreading the migration out over a day or three? Not knowing what is involved I have no idea whether this is a ridiculous suggestion or not. But my instinct is that to just stop using one platform and immediately start using another is a recipe for disaster.

At the very least, please consider allowing for some sort of beta, if not alpha, testing by some of the more "motivated" members? At the very least you could help build a more knowledgeable gaggle of folks who might be able to help with the inevitable, "How do I do this?" questions immediately following the change over.

-iJohn